Wong Kar Wai’s international breakthrough came with this 1994 masterpiece, a two-way look at life in Hong Kong in the 90s that would become one of the defining works of its time. Takeshi Kaneshiro and Tony Leung play Hong Kong cops looking for love and relationships in one of the most populous cities in the world. The bustling streets of Hong Kong is a character in this film that Roger Ebert felt remembered at a time when the French New Wave was a bigger part of the American cinematic experience. Interestingly, Roger has never given a Wong movie more than three stars, and her review of it is particularly compelling in that it almost seems to criticize the film for not appealing to the average American audience. . He writes, “This is the kind of movie you’ll relate to if you like the movie itself, rather than its superficial aspects like the story and the stars. This is not a movie for casual audiences, and it may not reveal all of its secrets on the first try. He goes on to say, “A lot of today’s young moviegoers, fed only by the narrow selections of video libraries, aren’t as curious or knowledgeable and may just be baffled by ‘Chungking Express’ instead of being put in the spotlight. challenge.” While he was right that Wong would never be for a casual audience, he underestimated how his reputation would grow and develop from this film, finding moviegoers who want to be challenged and even the respect being puzzled. Like his other masterpiece, “In the Mood for Love”, this film is enriched with each viewing. It was previously released on a Criterion Blu-ray but is now available in this bundle with new WKW-approved 4K digital restoration with a new DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround soundtrack.
When WKW designed “Chungking Express” it was originally a triptych, but the third story grew so much that it essentially turned it into its own movie. He says on one of the special features here that he thinks “Chungking” and “Fallen Angels” should be seen as a dual feature to fully enjoy the experience as he saw it. Again, Wong experiments with overlapping narratives, but this film is widely known for its visual style, a frenetic, wide-angle experience that drew comparisons to the music video culture of the ’90s. That’s a setback darker in “Chungking,” recounting a hitman (Leon Lai) and the woman (Michelle Reis) who cleans his apartment, even though they rarely log on. Night lives and day lives that don’t intersect, connections that aren’t physical, brutality countered by dreamy romance – this couldn’t be mistaken for a movie by someone other than Wong, which actually led to criticism that he was already becoming self-indulgent. It should be noted that it was the film in this set that appears to have been changed the most drastically in the restoration process, as Wong changed the format to CinemaScope, which he originally planned. It gives the film an even bigger and bigger feeling and makes its characters feel even smaller amid the chaos and lights of Hong Kong at night. This disc includes one of the best special features of the set, an “interview” in which Wong answers ten questions from filmmakers around the world, including Sofia Coppola and Rian Johnson. (Note that while we’re on aspect ratios: “Chungking Express” and “In the Mood for Love” were theatrically released at 1.66: 1 and converted to 1.85: 1 on video, but have found their original report here.)
If “Fallen Angels” felt a bit too detached for some viewers, Wong Kar Wai bounced back in 1997 with one of his most touching films, a romance starring Tony Leung and Leslie Cheung as a couple traveling through Argentina. . Wong has long been fascinated by the transfer from Hong Kong to China in 1997 (this also appears in other works), and so he uses the emotion of this giant event on large-scale change to examine the change in a way. more intimate, looking at how the country’s LGBTQ community faced an unknown future. Christopher Doyle’s cinematography is one of the best of his career, and Leung and Cheung’s main performances are among the best of all of Wong’s work. There is a deep humanity in “Happy Together” which reflects the more romantic side of Wong’s work, pulsating with passion and emotion. In a fire in 2019, part of the original negative of “Happy Together” was destroyed, meaning that this version is actually shorter than the theatrical version, and some of Tony Leung’s monologues were cut.